Cold Michigan Weather and Your Pet – Things to Know

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With the advent of the holiday season, Michigan pet owners will face another cold season—and it’s time to get prepared for it. Especially vulnerable are outdoor pets, as they have scant protection from the lower temperatures and the wind and snow.

While our pets may have some natural protection from the elements with their furry coats, they aren’t actually any more resistant to cold weather than their owners. The cold weather has an effect on every animal, but smaller animals with a lower body mass and thinner coats will be affected to a greater degree. Very young or very old animals are at similar risk, as their systems are less well equipped to deal with the temperature difference.

Cold weather also presents other concerns, such as water supplies freezing over and the condition of sickly pets worsening. Today we’ll be talking about what you should watch out for and what you can do to keep your pets warm over the winter season.


The biggest danger during cold weather is hypothermia (low body temperature) and frostbite. These conditions can occur when pets are exposed to cold temperatures for too long, and can have deadly consequences. If your pet is shivering, they’re cold! If it’s too cold for you, it’ll be too cold for your pet—bring them inside to warm them up. If you do have to go out, bundle up your pet in outdoor clothes and keep walks short, if possible. Pet booties are especially important, as your pet’s paws will be very vulnerable to snow and ice.

Toxic de-icing chemicals

Salt de-icers can be toxic—pets will tend to lick their paws after walking around, and any residue on their paws can irritate their stomachs and can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. If you don’t have pet booties, apply petroleum jelly or organic wax balms for pets to their paw pads. For your own patch, try to use salt-free ice melters that are pet-safe.

Being left alone in vehicles

While letting your pet hang out in the car during fall or spring is acceptable if the window is cracked open, this is something you should never do during cold weather. Once the car is off and the heater isn’t running, the cold can quickly bring down temperatures inside the car to levels that are not just uncomfortable, but debilitating or even potentially life-threatening to your pet, especially if left for an extended period of time. If you have to leave the car, bring your pet—preferably with some kind of carrier or at least their outdoor clothes.

Getting lost

Pets can lose their sense of scent in snow and ice, and can get lost very easily. Your outdoor pet that can usually navigate around the neighborhood with ease could possibly end up miles away in a snowstorm. More dogs are lost during winter than during any other season. When the weather gets especially bad, bring in your pets, and always make sure your pets have ID tags and microchips.

You can also keep your pet safe by hiring one of our Pet Nannies to watch over them! Our nannies are highly-trained and able to care for almost any common pet, and can adapt to their accustomed routine to make your furbabies as comfortable as possible.

We at Pet Nanny Inc are prepared to take care of your pets for you while you’re away or unavailable! For your daily pet care needs, Pet Nanny Inc are ready and standing by to help when you can’t be around for your pets. Follow us on our social media accounts or give us a call at 734-981-6108. Alternatively, you can use our on-line contact form and we’ll get in touch with you!

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